Bokurano is one of the newer mangas to hit the Japanese scene. It began in 2003 and was created by Mohiro Kitoh. Kotoh has a very unique style, and is easily recognizable. Most of his stories are about tragedy, and about how cruel life can become. One thing that he does that a lot of Japanese magaka do not do is to show genitals very vaguely. Instead of showing them with any distinctive marks, they are more like a doll would be. The word Bokurano translates into ours and has been transformed into an anime as of 2007.
Bokurano is about fifteen children. These children were at a summer camp when they accidentally discover a hidden cave. Inside the cave they find tons of computers and a man who calls himself Kokopelli. He tells them that he has been in seclusion so that he could finish his newest game. The game is about a robot that has to defeat fifteen aliens in order to keep the Earth safe. When the children show some interest, he tells them that he would like them to test the game, but that they have to sign a contract first. Fourteen of the fifteen sign, and find themselves waking up on the shore near the grotto. They do not know if the experience was a real or not, but discover later, to their dismay, that it was all too real.
Two gigantic robots, one white, one black, suddenly appear on the beach that very evening. A little being, which calls itself Dung Beetle, comes and transports them inside the large black robot that is there before them. Inside is Kokopelli, doing battle with the white robot. He tells them how the machine works as he’s battling the enemy, and tells them that they are on their own. As they teleport back to the beach, one of the children sees “I’m sorry” come out of Kokopelli’s mouth.
Each story focuses on one child. One at a time, the children take control of the robot in order to defeat the alien invasion. The reader is given information about each child as they take their turn behind the machine, and most of the children end up meeting their demise.
The first pilot is Waku. He and his friends name the robot Zearth. He beats the alien robot, but is pushed into the ocean right after the fight. Kodama goes next, and she beats a robot named Cancer. Right after she wins, she mysteriously dies. It is then that Dung Beetle tells the children that Zearth needs their life force in order to run properly. Whenever he wins, the pilot will die.
Daichi and Nakama go next, each losing their lives. Nakama decides to help out one of her friends using Zearth. Before she dies, she gives the rest of the children uniforms that she has created that they can use while running Zearth. Kako, the shy and scared one of the bunch, backs down from a fight. In response, Chizu decides to kill him. She takes Zearth and uses him to hurt the adults who sexually abused her. This time, Zearth takes the lives of both Chzu and her baby.
The series follows the children along, and as it is not yet completed, there are still numerous surprises in store.